Blantyre, Malawi (PANA) - The sacking of Vice-President Joyce Banda and Khumbo Kachali from their positions as first and second vice-presidents of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) claimed acres of newspaper columns in Malawi this week.
"Joyce Banda Fired From DPP" and "DPP Expels VP, Kachali" screamed the headlines in the Nation on Sunday and The Sunday Nation, reporting on the Sanhedrin-like indaba by President Bingu wa Mutharika's ruling DPP that resolved to sack the two party chiefs.
"The allegations (against the two) were so serious and to have allowed them to continue with these anti-party activities would not be in the best interests of the party," the Nation on Sunday quoted DPP Publicity Secretary Heatherwick Ntaba as justifying the dramatic expulsions
The story received prominence throughout the week, with the papers reporting on massive resignations from the party at the vice-president's strongholds and the DPP's counter-claims that the party is still strong in those areas despite the reported resignations.
"Zomba DPP Members Resign For VP", reported The Nation on the decision by over 500 members of the ruling party to withdraw their membership from the party, following the sacking of Banda.
It also reported on the resignation of the DPP deputy Northern Region Governor Rosemary Mwendelile who reportedly also resigned from the party.
"She (Joyce Banda) has been a role model for women in Malawi," the daily quoted Mwendelile as saying, adding "I was motivated by her to join the DPP and now that she has been removed, I see no reason to remain in the DPP."
Malawi's two dailies, The Daily Times and The Nation, throughout the week reported on fall-out from the expulsions and demonstrations by DPP members re-affirming the party's strength in Banda's strongholds, despite her sacking.
However, the most dramatic news from the fall-out came mid-week when President Mutharika himself weighed in on the issue.
"Bingu Slams Church" was the headline in The Daily Times, which quoted Mutharika as attacking church leaders, who accused him of intolerance, saying Banda was sacked from the party for dividing the party.
In an unbelievable bravado for a church-going Catholic, Mutharika declared that he is "no Jesus" and would retaliate in kind, once rubbed the wrong way.
"When you slap me, I'll hit you," said the angry Mutharika, according to The Daily Times, stressing "I'm not a son of God. Jesus is the son of God, that's why when you hit Him on one side, He'll give you the other side, but not with me, because I'm not Jesus."
The vice-president's expulsion from the ruling party refused to die, as developments at the weekend revealed her crimes included influencing the nine-Catholic bishops in the country to pen a scathing pastoral letter faulting government on governance issues, her refusal to endorse Mutharika's kid brother, Peter, to succeed him and her alleged conniving with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza to sabotage the President's pet project, the Shire-Zambezi Waterway.
"All those accusations were labeled against her," the Weekend Nation quoted an anonymous DPP insider as saying, adding that "It was a pre-arranged meeting."
As if capping the dirty nature of Malawi politics, the week also saw the dramatic resignation from politics of arguably the country's most-accomplished musician, Lucius Banda.
"With effect from today, I have quit active politics," The Daily Times quoted the singer as saying, emphasising "This means from today, I'm not belonging to any political party."
Lucius, who joined politics as a Member of Parliament for the United Democratic Front (UDF), had announced he would vie for the presidency of former ruling party for the 2014 general eletions.
-0- PANA RT/BOS 18Dec2010